The United Nations Security Council today voiced its backing for the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire in his efforts to foster good governance, and said all parties should cooperate with him towards this end.
In a statement read out by its president, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar, the Council reiterated its support for the UN-authorized International Working Group (IWG) mandated to monitor progress in the Ivorian peace process and stressed that all parties must adhere to the timeline in the IWG ‘road map’ peace plan.
The statement came just one day after Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced his concern about the stalled peace process in Côte d’Ivoire, which has been divided between the Government-held south and the rebel-controlled north since 2002.
In a statement released by his spokesman, Mr. Annan called on President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny to “initiate a sustained political dialogue, with the participation of all Ivorian political leaders” to revive the peace process.
Today, the Council voiced “grave concern” at delays in implementing the political transition and urges all Ivorian parties “to cooperate fully with the Prime Minister.”
The Council reiterated its full support for Mr. Banny. “It strongly encourages him to continue his endeavours, in consultation with President Laurent Gbagbo, including his efforts to fight impunity and promote good governance,” the statement said, adding that elections must be held by the end of next October “at the latest.”
The Council reaffirmed that the Prime Minister “must exercise his powers without hindrance, including his authority over the Defence and Security Forces,” and called on all Ivorian parties to support his efforts.
The Council also said the neutrality and impartiality of the public media are essential to the peace process, and called for a reinstatement of dismissed officials of Radio Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI) and Fraternité Matin.
“Obstacles to the freedom of movement of the impartial forces, in particular those put up by the Republican Guard, are unacceptable,” the Council President said.
The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has more than 9,000 military or police personnel in place to maintain peace.